Two Poems by Arlene Naganawa

That Day

            We saw birds with white diamonds
            on the underside of black wings         
                        —Freda Moon

The birds were whips of light.
The birds were wheels of dirty snow.

The birds were tendons trapped in the rafters.
The birds were the ancient whites of their eyes.

The birds were shattered in our hair.
The birds were our boys riddled with diamonds.


The Heart

A door opened into her body,
a cavern, pinpricks like electric wasps.

Her fingers dimmed
like fireflies drained of light.

So this is someone’s work, she thought,
the dimpled spider and the white heal-all. 

Her heart waned in the cave.
A fox crept to the mouth, lowered his head.

Wind shivered through her gown.
Where is he going? she asked.

Where is the spider? At night
flowers closed like ghosts on their stems,

moth wings ruined by fingers. Voices floated
from the hall, lungs filled and emptied,

alveoli like paintbrush bracts,
like tips of lit torches.

Arlene Naganawa‘s work has appeared in Caketrain, Crab Orchard Review, Pontoon, Washington 129, Calyx, Diner, all the sins, Cider Press Review, New Delta Review, Waxwing, and in other publications. Her chapbooks include The Ark and the Bear (Floating Bridge Press), The Scarecrow Bride (Red Book Chapbooks), and Private Graveyard (Gribble Press).